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Devon Brooks - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Devon Brooks Devon Brooks

Associate Professor of Social Work | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Research and practice interests include reduction and treatment of child maltreatment, with a focus on racial and ethnic disparities.


Devon Brooks joined the faculty in 1999 and teaches human behavior and research methodology in the M.S.W. program and research methodology in the Ph.D. program.

His research and practice interests generally revolve around the reduction and treatment of child maltreatment, with a focus on racial and ethnic disparities in the permanency and mental health outcomes of children and families served by public child welfare agencies; risk assessment; assessment of formal and indigenous service needs and utilization; transracial adoption and racial matching policy; gay and lesbian adoption and foster care placements; family preservation; and child welfare innovations.

He regularly provides consultation and technical assistance in the area of child welfare and presents at national conferences. He is principal investigator of both "The SPIN Initiative: Evaluation of an In-Home, Strengths and Video Based Intervention for at-Risk Families" and "Enhancing Positive Outcomes in Transracial Adoptive Families Following Implementation of the Multiethnic Placement Act and Interethnic Adoption Provisions."

Dr. Brooks is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Association of Black Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education, and the Society for Social Work and Research. He is a member of the editorial board of Children and Youth Services Review, and has most recently published in Child and Family Social Work, Child Welfare, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology and Social Work.

To reference the work of Devon Brooks online, we ask that you directly quote their work where possible and attribute it to "Devon Brooks, a faculty at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work” (LINK: https://dworakpeck.usc.edu)

Education (3)

University of California, Berkeley: PhD 2000

University of California, Berkeley: MSW 1993

George Mason University: BA 1991

Areas of Expertise (6)

Child Welfare

Risk Assessment

Research Methodology

Children & Families

Human Behavior

Mental Health

Industry Expertise (2)



Accomplishments (3)

Senior Research Fellow, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (professional)


Culture of Mentoring Award (granted to the School of Social Work), University of Southern California (professional)


Mellon Faculty to Faculty Mentoring Award, USC (professional)



Media Appearances (2)

Foster kids need face time with parents, but in LA County that's not easy

89.3 KPCC  radio


Los Angeles' traffic issues, among other problems, are hampering one of the child welfare system's basic functions: getting foster kids face time with their parents...Devon Brooks, an associate professor of social work at the University of Southern California, said poverty is another factor that plays into the complexities of the system.

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When stars adopt, the world notices

USA Today  online


"I think the public has the impression that celebrities have an edge on and get breaks with everything, including adoption," says adoption expert Devon Brooks, an associate professor of social work at the University of Southern California. "Having said that, I don't think the public has the impression that celebrities who adopt get to break all the laws and rules. The American public is inspired by celebrity adoptions because they epitomize the American experience."

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Research Articles & Publications (4)

Identifying families with complex needs after an initial child abuse investigation: a comparison of demographics and needs related to domestic violence, mental health, and substance use

Child Abuse & Neglect

James David Simon, Devon Brooks

2017 Families with complex needs related to domestic violence, mental health, and substance use have some of the worst child protective services (CPS) outcomes. Although many of these families are identified during a CPS investigation and subsequently referred to home-based postinvestigation services (HBPS), many are re-reported to CPS, so it is important to understand the postinvestigation experiences of this vulnerable group.

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Post-investigation service need and utilization among families at risk of maltreatment

Children and Youth Services Review

James David Simon, Devon Brooks

2016 This study examined the relationship between different areas of family need and the utilization of home-based, post-investigation services (HBPS) following a child protective services (CPS) investigation. The sample consisted of 2598 families with children who remained at home after an initial CPS investigation between July 2006 and April 2011.

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Supporting gay and lesbian adoptive families before and after adoption

Adoption by lesbians and gay men: A new dimension in family diversity

Devon Brooks, Hansung Kim, Leslie H. Wind

2012 For decades, adoption by gay men and lesbians has been controversial. For both the general public and adoption professionals, this controversy has stemmed sometimes from homophobia and at other times from arguably legitimate concerns about the impact of gay adoption on children (Brooks & Goldberg, 2001; Ryan, Pearlmutter, & Groza, 2004).

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Beyond preadoptive risk: The impact of adoptive family environment on adopted youth’s psychosocial adjustment

American Journal of Orthopsychiatry

Juye Ji, Devon Brooks, Richard P Barth, Hansung Kim


2010 Adopted children often are exposed to preadoptive stressors—such as prenatal substance exposure, child maltreatment, and out‐of‐home placements—that increase their risks for psychosocial maladjustment. Psychosocial adjustment of adopted children emerges as the product of pre‐and postadoptive factors.

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